The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) carried out training for female journalists from various media outlets in Kericho County to ensure the safety of the media personnel as the country heads to the general election.
Addressing the press at a Kericho hotel on Wednesday, MCK Rift Valley regional coordinator Jackson Karanja said the media is an important ingredient to any election and empowering media workers to deal with safety threats is key in ensuring their safety as they undertake their duties during the upcoming general election.
Karanja urged the female journalists to prioritize their safety and protection as they cover the polls and avoid expressing their political preferences publicly while in the same breath cautioning them on the impact of their dress code which may expose them to harassment while in the line of duty.
He told the journalists to report any incidents of harassment or intimidation for intervention through the Media Council toll free line. “The council has a toll free line number 0702 222 111 where journalists can air their challenges or any form of harassment that they may face on the ground,” said Karanja.
The regional coordinator urged the media to uphold professionalism, desist from propaganda and ensure they do not broadcast inaccuracies while in the same breath urging journalists to adhere to the code of conduct for media practice as they undertake their duties in the upcoming elections.
“I urge journalists to uphold the code of conduct for media practice that stipulates the various dos and don’ts that journalists within the republic are supposed to work by.
Issues of accuracy in reporting information because you know the electorate out there will be relying on the information that we share so it is very important that journalists are keen on the 24 codes of conduct as each of them is very important in the election. So let us ensure our working is in line with the code of conduct of media practice,” he said.
He called upon journalists to ensure objectivity as they cover the elections as a way of maintaining peace and avoid fueling conflicts in their reports.
“Journalists should remember that we carry a very important role in the society and as a council we have been urging journalists to remember that all reporting should be aimed at minimizing conflict.
Let us not report to incite, but rather let us report to inform people accurately. So it is very important for us to remember this and also remember the power media carries can either burn or build any society, so let us use our power to build a nation as Kenya is bigger than all of us,” said Karanja.
He revealed the council had teamed up with players in the electoral process to ensure journalists are granted unfettered access to information to guarantee accurate reporting during the election period.
“We are committed as a council to ensure that the media as an important ingredient to any election in a democracy is protected. As a council we are working together with like minds and stakeholders to ensure that journalists in the line of duty are not harassed, are not injured or are not victimized because of what they are doing,” said Karanja.
By Sarah Njagi